With an endless range of products available, exclusive money-saving deals and the convenience of next-day delivery, it’s no wonder more of us are doing our shopping from the comfort of our own homes.
However, there are some added risks to be aware of. Cybersecurity and the use of our personal data is an increasingly hot topic, and there are several steps you can take to make sure you’re protecting yourself on the web.
Here are five ways to keep your money safe online.
1] Research the seller
You probably wouldn’t buy something in person from someone you didn’t trust, so apply that logic to your online shopping. The majority of sellers are perfectly legitimate, but there are a few easy ways to spot a scammer.
Start off by checking if the website is secure – the web address should start with ‘https’ rather than ‘http’. Next, search for online reviews to see if anyone else has had any problems.
2] Know your rights
Return policies are not universal and shipping times can vary, so find out what you’re entitled to before you part with your money. Returns policy information is particularly important if you have a problem with something you’ve bought, even if a seller isn’t consciously trying to scam you.
These factors can vary even more on online marketplace websites such as eBay, so make sure to check with the seller themselves if you’re not sure.
3] Protect yourself
There are lots of ways to bolster your online security. Installing and updating anti-virus software on your computer or laptop can protect you from known threats, while avoiding public wifi for making payments will better hide your personal details from hackers.
It’s important to choose strong passwords for your online accounts too. Try to use a combination of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and special characters, and steer clear of easy options like ‘1234’.
4] Use a protected payment method
Some ways of paying online are safer than others. Checking out with e-money services like PayPal saves you having to give out your card details, while credit card purchases between £100 and £300,000 are protected by your card provider.
If you do pay by card, check your credit card statement regularly to make sure everything is as it should be. If there are any payments you don’t recognise, flag them to your bank as early as possible to prevent any further fraud taking place. Keeping a regular eye on your statements and knowing what you’re spending is a good way to stayfinancially organised.
Now that you know some of the key things to look out for, you’re better placed to check out with confidence.